Urszula Sipinska: Trzymając się za ręce (Muza, 1969)

7 May

A melancholy but sunlit ballad with folk inflections and lush orchestration recorded as part of a late 1960s EP by Urszula Sipinska, whose catalogue ranges from folk, jazz and bossa nova to the middle of the road. Sipinska retired from music around the end of the 1980s to focus on a new career in architecture, and Trzymając się za ręce (Holding Our Hands) is representative of her best material. The song can be heard here and a version of the Polish lyric can be read here.

Trzymając Się Za Ręce (Holding Hands By Myself)

(after S. Krajewski/K. Dzikowski, 1969)

We stroll in the absolute light of noon
among the trembling wings and rays of the sun
as their warmth wraps our bodies
and we move as one through flickering woods.

There are green banks and birches
when we arrive, together, at the shore of a marsh;
my thoughts return to last winter’s snow –
that icy whiteness seems so long gone, now.

The horizon, these ferns at the water’s edge,
are all the signposts I need to your distant house.
My body is a tide, withdrawn and low –
shall we be together again, one day soon?

I am holding hands with myself as I walk;
my feet try to make the rhythm of two.
My hand nests like a bird in a pocket at my side,
imagining fingers warm to its touch.

And the day will start fading in an hour or two
but while the light remains I’ll stay with you,
remember, in the river’s flickering shine,
the frost that bleached breeze-tousled grass,

your voice and step, your palm in mine,
the snow through which we walked together last.
Like this, I sit, where marsh and river merge, ask
where this stroll in the summer sun might lead?

And I imagine, somewhere, by another stream,
you, imagining this hand in your hand;
you, remembering the sound of my voice,
listening for my footsteps keeping pace with yours.

Perhaps the sun’s warmth is only standing in
for our bodies, our words and hands back then,
the way we seemed to inhabit a single skin.
I remember, but sit at the river’s edge, alone.

Do you imagine us, now, together again,
warm in the snow of last winter’s noon?
I think of you, somewhere remembering me,
holding hands by myself on a summer’s day.

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